drilling holes in a virgin bass drum shell to accomodate a tom mount

hector48

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I have a Tama Starclassic virgin bass drum with a wrap finish, and I'm going to mount a Tama tom holder on top.
It requires 4 small mounting screw holes (no large center hole, fortunately).
Anyhow, I'm assuming the "best" way to do this is to apply some painters tape on the wrap, mark it, and drill from the wrap to the inside of the shell?
Maybe do a small pilot hole first?

My thought is that drilling from the inside of the shell out to the wrap might chip out the wrap finish.
Is my thinking correct?
 

tripp2k

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I vote to leave it virgin but I'm not you. You may have some wood splinter going that way, but that's how I would do it. High speed on the drill but go slow as the drill penetrates all the way through. Make sure you have a firm grasp on the drill so it doesn't do anything but go straight in.
 

hector48

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Thanks for your advice.
What's the advantage of leaving it virgin?
Don't say shell resonance, because most of us muffle the BD anyway.

I play 3 up / 1 down and positioning those toms without a BD mount is a pain.
 

tripp2k

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I think a virgin bass is hot. I could whip out my sonic algorithm for "hot", but I was never particularly good at the maths.
 

PaulD

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What size is the drum? The first thing I'd be doing is figuring out what placement Tama uses for that particular mount on that particular size drum. The dimension you're likely looking for is distance back from the batter side bearing edge. I have a Starclassic B/B with a 22x18 bass. I'm happy to get the measurement for you on mine, especially since I'll be taking the batter head off soon anyway.

Next, I'd be calling them, or maybe a Tama dealer (DCP might be good here) to see if they have a template. They might be able to get you the measurement above as well.

Once you have that measurement, after applying painter's tape, find the centerline of the drum by removing the lugs and using those holes as a guide. You'll need a flexible tape measure and probably a carpenter's square. For a job like this I'd measure 10 times and drill once.

A final consideration. I'm not sure which Starclassic you have but Tama doesn't sell the Starclassic Maple with tom holders mounted. They only do that on the Performer series. It could be that the Maple series shells are too thin. Again, I'd call them.
 

Old Dog

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I watched a vid where the guy did small pilot holes from the outside, then also drilled from the inside (there was no outer wrap involved). They were the cleanest drilled holes done by an amateur that I had seen. I'll try and find the video.

A virgin bass looks clean, cool. But they're not always convenient.

I believe this is the video that shows the drilling from out and in.

 
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PaulD

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Oh yeah, you don't necessarily need a pilot hole in a soft material like wood, but use a new or newly sharpened drill bit. Also, use a punch to mark the hole. That will prevent the bit from walking.
 

Mcjnic

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Some very good advice here.
Tape both sides.
Small starter bits.
NEW drill bits.
Variable speed.
MEASURE TWICE!!!
Make sure you do a mock up with another person helping you to be absolutely sure you are placing it EXACTLY where it is needed.
Think ahead about what you might want to do in the future ... perhaps a larger tom or maybe a cymbal there. Your first spot might not accommodate the future stuff ... think outside the box here.
You never know where your creative flow will go.
 

hector48

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What size is the drum? The first thing I'd be doing is figuring out what placement Tama uses for that particular mount on that particular size drum. The dimension you're likely looking for is distance back from the batter side bearing edge. I have a Starclassic B/B with a 22x18 bass. I'm happy to get the measurement for you on mine, especially since I'll be taking the batter head off soon anyway.

Next, I'd be calling them, or maybe a Tama dealer (DCP might be good here) to see if they have a template. They might be able to get you the measurement above as well.

Once you have that measurement, after applying painter's tape, find the centerline of the drum by removing the lugs and using those holes as a guide. You'll need a flexible tape measure and probably a carpenter's square. For a job like this I'd measure 10 times and drill once.

A final consideration. I'm not sure which Starclassic you have but Tama doesn't sell the Starclassic Maple with tom holders mounted. They only do that on the Performer series. It could be that the Maple series shells are too thin. Again, I'd call them.
It's a Starclassic B/B kit. It typically has the tom mount already, but I got a more shallow depth and the tom mount is not standard on that configuration. I already got the spacing for the holes from a kit at my local drum shop.
 

zenghost

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Tama's Starclassic Maple line is good to go for a tom holder bracket - it is available from the factory.

The Star line does not offer the option - Simon does it anyway. ;-)

Definitely measure and assess the desired outcome thoroughly.

Give consideration to the actual tom holder style/model and desired tom position (tom brackets make a difference in offset as well). Distance from the batter head (key factor here), in large part should be based on your preferred tom positioning relative to the bass drum combined with the range of motion allowed by your tom holder. You do not want your preferred tom positioning to be available only at the mechanical limits of your tom holder - give yourself wiggle room for changes in positioning and set-up down the road.
 

Radio King

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I've drilled several bass drums for mounts. Definitely use painter's tape on both sides, triple measure and mark (most tom mounts have a rubber gasket with holes already aligned, so they make a good template), then use a step-bit for clean, professional holes on both sides.

 

blueshadow

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One last thing I'd do is ask my local shop if they could do it...if they've done it before that is. Some local shops have very good tech's that I'd gladly pay to have it done...but if they don't know what they are doing then I'd be better off DYI'ing Shouldn't be that big of a job to do but again if I had pro available to do it I'd pay them but that's because I know how easily I could screw it up!
 

PaulD

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I personally would not use a step drill on this because the steps are shorter than the thickness of the shell. You'll end up with a hole that's wider than it needs to be on the outside. Do go slow with minimal pressure on the drill.

Personally, I'm a fan of bass mounted toms. Virgins are overrated.
 

PaulD

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Another option to avoid chip out is this.

- use center punch on the outside where hole will be.
- drill pilot hole with small bit
- drill to middle of the shell from both sides with full size bit.

Using the rubber gasket thing from the tom mount as a template is a good idea.
 

Radio King

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I personally would not use a step drill on this because the steps are shorter than the thickness of the shell. You'll end up with a hole that's wider than it needs to be on the outside.
To each his own. I personally like the slight, clean flair it adds to both sides of the hole.
 

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